What is it about exercising in groups that makes me so self-conscious? It’s not so much a problem in classes like spin where everyone is on their own bike so it doesn’t matter if you’re slow or uncoordinated. Unless you fall off the bike or perhaps sing too loud to the music, no one cares or notices what you’re doing. You’re not keeping anyone from advancing or slowing down the group when you’re in spin class.
Other exercise classes are a different story. Or at least that was my preconceived notion before I did a boot camp class today. Most of my fears and concerns were gone by the end of class. First, I managed to do all the stations without passing out. I did however text a friend before class to remind her that she was in charge of picking out a good photo for my obituary should I die from either exertion or embarrassment. Fortunately I did neither and I was once again reminded that exercising is about me, not anyone else.
Today’s class was my first group weight training class in about ten years. When my children were little, the YMCA was a godsend with its childcare so I tried out classes even though I was obese. I was proud of myself for participating, albeit slowly and clumsily, until one fateful day. A perky girl, who I could only think thought she was being helpful by cheerfully rushing up to me after class said, “Wow, good for you! You’re doing this class.” My dumbfounded and angry face must have given her the impression she should just back away slowly. As if I didn’t say to myself every class, “It’s OK you’re the only fat mom in here, just keep trying. No one cares.” From that day on, every time I took that class I thought that people must feel sad for the fat chick in the class. It was devastating, but I did keep going.
Here I am almost four years out from my gastric sleeve surgery and I must admit I’m still self-conscious about my body. Oh, I’m in the best shape of my adult life and I exercise regularly including running, but the “fat chick” in my head likes to make herself known from time to time. My personal training sessions have boosted my confidence tremendously, but they will be ending soon. I realized it was time to try out a group class to keep working on strength training.
I’m very lucky that my personal trainer also teaches the boot camp I did today. I was reassured that she would make sure my form was good when she could. When I walked into class I realized that it was made of women of all shapes, sizes, and athletic ability. No, I wasn’t the skinniest woman in the room, but I fit in just fine. But you know what? It didn’t matter what I looked like or what I could do because no one cares! Now, I don’t mean that in a malicious way as in people are uncaring, what I mean is that everyone is there to do their best. It’s not a fashion show or a competition. This boot camp was all about people doing their personal best.
Was I awkward, uncoordinated, and insecure? You betcha! I was also determined, strong, and proud. Sure, my lunges were slow, but I rocked it on the TRX bands. As I moved from station to station, I became more comfortable and relaxed. In no time, the session was over and I did everything. I assume everyone else did, but I didn’t notice. This time was about me and what I could do. And thankfully no one came up to me commenting about my abilities, weight or the fact I was even in the class.
But if someone had said something to me, I would have been irritated, but I would have brushed it off. I am proud of what I can do and I am not focusing on my weaknesses when I exercise. I’m working hard to be this way in all aspects of my life. I’m taking one giant step, or rather lunge, forward to being positive mentally and physically!
Next time, you’re thinking of trying something new or even an activity you stopped doing due to insecurity, I hope you’ll do it. One of the positive things that has come out of my weight loss journey is my confidence to try new and old things. I want to live a life that is full of hope and happiness and how I get there is all up to me. While no one might notice what I’m doing to get there, the results of living a healthy life are clear I think, especially as I continue to go Down the Scale…